Romine: Timberline pledges to stand with the community (column) | SummitDaily.com

Romine: Timberline pledges to stand with the community (column)

Larry Romine
Guest Columnist

In days like these, when temperatures plunge and huge snowstorms loom, those of us working outdoors in the waste-hauling and recycling industry gain a significant degree of comfort in the relationship we have with our customers and the community. Specifically, at Timberline Disposal we feed off the positive attitude we encounter among so many residents; and we take great pride in our opportunity to share in the community's commitment to the environment.

A recent community forum hosted by the Summit Daily News clearly demonstrated the positivity that I'm trying to describe. About 150 people showed up — on a work day — with varying opinions about the best ways to solve a budgetary issue facing the Summit County landfill (SCRAP). The discussion was respectful and thoughtful. This attitude, along with the fierce love of our environment, makes me believe we will solve this complicated issue with the most beneficial outcome.

For instance, even though the recycling centers in Breckenridge and Frisco have been "free" for all residents to use, it was clear in this forum that at least 99 percent of the attendees recognized that there is no such thing as free recycling. People recycle because they believe in it; and if the dynamics of the recycling market force a change in the process, people are going to adapt. If landfill fees won't subsidize this grand effort, the people of Summit County will find another way. In keeping with that attitude, Timberline pledges always to make recycling services available.

For Timberline to make recycling available, of course, we must find a way to stay in business. We need to pay our expenses and pay the salaries of the 22 employees who depend upon the company for their livelihood. There is nothing greedy about it. It's just the simple equation that keeps the American economy vibrant. And as long as we can keep our expenses low, we can offer competitive services at a reasonable price. Yes, it's possible for a local mom-and-pop business to compete against the national chains, provided that the government fosters a fair business environment.

For Timberline to make recycling available, of course, we must find a way to stay in business. We need to pay our expenses and pay the salaries of the 22 employees who depend upon the company for their livelihood.

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Timberline recognizes that the county has a budgetary dilemma, and we're willing to do our share to help the community reach a resolution. It's clear that no single individual, agency, organization or company can bear the responsibility and hope to solve things. The complexities of this issue require that we take a big-picture view, and that we acknowledge the "simple solution" of greater and greater amounts of trash to the landfill is really no solution at all. Sure, the immediate revenues to the county would have a short-term, satisfying effect; but what happens when we reach capacity in that landfill 40 years from now, or sooner?

Timberline built its transfer station to haul trash out of Summit County after years of good-faith discussions with county officials. Now we need to continue those discussions to determine where we go from here. We at Timberline earnestly hope that we will be having these regular kinds of problem-solving conversations with local government officials for decades to come.

Larry Romine co-founded Timberline Disposal with his partner David Whitmer in 2003. Between them, they have more than 50 years of experience in the waste collection and recycling industries.